Frankfurt: The importance of collaboration and joint action on re-enforcing the role of knowledge and creativity in expertise exchange, as well as on enhancing cultural dialogue and understanding between the world’s cultures was emphasised by Shaikha Budoor Bint Sultan Al Qasimi, founder and CEO of Kalimat Group, at a panel discussion on Wednesday at Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.
"Literary and cultural partnerships are crucial to building cultural bridges between peoples from around the world", said Shaikha Budoor at the discussion.
Shaikha Budoor also expressed her belief that cultural and literary partnerships facilitate mutual understanding and have the capacity to promote peaceful coexistence between cultures.
“Originally, the idea for Kalimat started when I had my own children and I wanted to make sure that they had access to wonderful books in Arabic. I feel that is still our main message and our main pillar in Kalimat. We wanted to take that further and think of it globally and not just regionally and in the Arab world, but also have our books sent to the countries that are far away and in different languages,” said Shaikha Budoor.
“The initial idea of using partnerships to have rights deals with different publishers really opens doors as a publisher, not only for cultural exchange, but also to make sure that children in other parts of the world can understand more about our stories. And it can act as an agent of soft diplomacy and make this world a better place.” she said.
Shaikha Budoor said that the inspiration behind her efforts had seen Kalimat grow from a small business to an international publishing group with licensing and distribution in 54 countries across five continents. She extolled the virtues of being in partnership with such renowned publishing houses as Bloomsbury, Quarto and Gallimard and said that the benefits from forging such partnerships were mutual.
During the panel discussion, she highlighted an array of opportunities that the region, and Sharjah in particular, had to offer, especially in light of the emirate being awarded the literary status of World Book Capital for 2019 and also being in the process of opening Sharjah Publishing City, which will be the world’s only publishing free zone once fully operational.
Other speakers at the panel discussion included Marcus Leaver, CEO The Quarto Group; Nigel Newton, CEO Bloomsbury Publishing and Hedwige Pasquet, President of Gallimard. The discussion was moderated by Porter Anderson, editor-in-chief, Publishing Perspectives.
Since its inception, Kalimat Group has achieved a widespread presence on the Arab cultural landscape and won several awards in recognition of its efforts to advance children’s literature in Arabic.
Frankfurt Book Fair features more than 7,150 exhibitors from 106 countries. Each year, the world’s largest book fair hosts around 278,000 visitors and more than 4,000 activities.